Friday, February 8, 2013

Technology Ideas for Teachers

Happy Snow Day! I'm bracing myself for the big BLIZZARD headed to Maine today! We're expecting anywhere from 2-3 FEET of snow to fall today into Saturday! Yikes! Needless to say, we have today off from school!

Speaking of school, today's post is about some cool technology teaching ideas I've been using this year! Teachers, this one's for you! I've compiled lots of other school-related ideas on my Pinterest board, too!

REMIND 101
I have recently starting using a free site called Remind 101 which allows me to send text message reminders to my students because, let's face it, that is how most teenagers prefer to communicate! It sends the messages from a phone number assigned by the service, NOT from my actual phone number! The students can't reply to the messages, they can only receive them. So far, it's worked really well and the students appreciate the reminders! I may also extend the service to the parents of my students as well.

QR CODES
Techie teaching idea number two is the use of QR codes in the classroom! I've just recently started a new semester class with four sections of students and I added something new to the course syllabus...
The students and parents can simply scan the codes with their Smart Phones and it automatically saves my contact information and takes them to my website!

To create a code, all you have to do is go to a site that creates QR codes, enter your information, then save the image to your computer. You can then add the image to any document where you want to share the codes! This is a great way to show parents and students creativity and innovation! You do need a Smart Phone that has a QR reader app in order to scan the codes (you can download this app for free).  Here's a code for you to try scanning:
Todays Meet
This is a great online tool to use when watching movies in class but requires that each student has access to a laptop (we are lucky, ours is a one to one laptop school).  Instead of pausing the film every time I want to point something out or every time a student has a question, I create a private chatroom at TodaysMeet.com.


TodaysMeet is a really cool (and free) resource for teachers and presenters who want to encourage a backchannel chat amongst their students or audience.  Backchanneling allows conversations to go on while something is being presented.  In this case, we watch the film while having an online conversation.  I can also print out a transcript of our conversation to give to the students as notes.  How cool is that?  Most students seem to really like this activity because it takes something they love to do (chat online) and allows them to do it with a purpose!


Random Name Generator
In my quest to ensure all of my students are participating during class discussions, I've turned to two ideas, one 'old fashioned' and the other 'high tech'! The 'high tech' idea is this website that allows me to create groups and then the program will random select names.

 The 'old fashioned' idea, which I prefer when I'm using my laptop for something else, is the use of jumbo craft sticks!

On the first day of the semester I had each student color half of the stick and then write their name on the other half. At the start of class, the colored sides are facing up and as I randomly call on students throughout the discussion, I switch the sticks in the container so I know who has already participated.

Looking for more teaching ideas? Follow me on Pinterest! Happy Snow Day!

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